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EIFF 2018: Lucid (2018) starring Billy Zane and Sadie Frost

N.B. This film is not on wide release in the UK at present. It is showing at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th June 2018.

The girl of his dreams

Laurie Calvert plays Zel, an adrift, painfully shy young man who works as a car park attendant for a shady private members’ club. He’s attracted to a woman living in the same building as himself named Jasmine (Felicity Gilbert) but lacks the courage to go and talk to her. One day, he is invited around by another neighbour named Elliot (Billy Zane) who tells him that he knows a secret way to enable him to seduce her. Elliot decides to teach Zel how to have lucid dreams, a technique which will enable him to practice how to talk to Jasmine. Sure enough, when he starts putting his efforts into practice he has some surprising success.

However, fate suddenly transpires and things take a radically different turn to what was expected. Zel also begins to have doubts about whether some of his experiences are taking place in real life or the dream world.

Watch a trailer:

A dull film with a fascinating idea and background

The story behind Lucid’s conception really quite incredible. For one thing, the film’s writer-director Adam Morse recently revealed to the world that he is, in fact, blind. Indeed, during filming, he didn’t even disclose this fact to a lot of the people involved - including the production’s investors and actor Billy Zane. It’s an impressive feat that it got made at all. Sadly (and it pains me to say this), this doesn’t necessarily mean that the end result is any good. The world of dreams is one ripe with cinematic potential: a place in the human psyche where just about anything is possible, the only limit being the imagination. Unfortunately, Lucid is one of the most uninteresting films that could conceivably be made about such an endlessly enthralling subject.

Zel is described by his shady boss (who appears to have just graduated from the British Gangster Film School of Thuggish Stereotypes) as having “about as much personality as a pubic hair”. Unfortunately, the viewer will probably agree with him only too well. Laurie Calvert plays our protagonist as a one-note socially-anxious stutterer who gradually turns into a more confident but no less dull person. His dialogue is humourlessly bland throughout and he resembles less a rounded human being and more some onscreen stick figure. Felicity Gilbert is just as dull and stiff playing the object of his affections.

When we can’t root for a central couple and the film is so littered with copious swathes of flat dialogue then it’s a major problem. Most of the on-screen lucid dreams themselves take place within the club itself and don’t get any more imaginative than briefly showing a band playing in animal masks.

If there are any redeeming qualities here, it’s that the neon-drenched cinematography is at least appealing to the eye, and that Billy Zane gives an enjoyably quirky performance as the scruffy dream guru. It’s refreshing not to see him typecast as a boo-hiss villain for a change. Overall, however, Lucid is tedious. Nonetheless, I hold out the hope that a making-of documentary will be pulled together some day.

Runtime: 86 mins

Dir: Adam Morse

Script: Adam Morse

Starring: Laurie Calvert, Sophie Kennedy Clerk, Sadie Frost, Billy Zane, Christian Solimeno, Felicity Gilbert

Rating: ☆

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